The answer depends on a few things:
- whether there is an applicable car insurance policy;
- if there is an applicable car insurance policy, whether it has “verbal threshold;” and
- the seriousness of your injuries.
Though it is counterintuitive, a NJ pedestrian’s right to sue a driver who hits him may be limited by an applicable car insurance policy. If the pedestrian owns a car, then his car insurance policy would apply. If the pedestrian does not own a car but is covered by a family member’s car insurance policy, then that family member’s car insurance policy would apply. If the applicable car insurance policy has verbal threshold, then the pedestrian may sue for pain and suffering damages if the injuries fall within certain statutory exceptions, such as displaced fracture, permanent injury, etc.
Just because the pedestrian has verbal threshold does not mean he cannot file a NJ car accident lawsuit. If his injuries qualify as one of the 6 injury categories, such as permanent injury, pursuant to New Jersey Statutes Annotated Section 39:6A-8a, then he may sue the negligent driver for non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering damages). For a detailed explanation of each category, see New Jersey Car Accidents & Verbal Threshold – Can Injured Car Accident Victims Recover Damages? (Part 1).
Therefore, if you have a car and have verbal threshold on your car insurance policy, your neck injuries may be considered permanent, which is one of the 6 injury categories. Whether an injury is permanent is often debated in New Jersey car accident lawsuits, and the determination is based on credible medical evidence.
An injury is permanent if it cannot heal enough to allow a person to function normally, i.e., the injury is permanent if even with further medical treatment, the injury still cannot heal enough to allow the victim to function normally.
Therefore in your situation, the evidence must show that the herniated discs were caused by the accident and that despite medical treatment, your neck injuries limit your ability to function normally, causing problems such as limited range of motion in your neck and continuing pain. Furthermore, the evidence must show that even with further medical treatment, your herniated discs will never heal and the range of motion in your neck will always be limited.
Determining whether injuries are permanent in NJ car or pedestrian accident lawsuits is heavily dependent on the facts and medical evidence. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced car-pedestrian accident lawyer in New Jersey to discuss your potential case.
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If you were hit by a car, truck or bus while crossing a street on a NJ roadway, feel free to contact Phil T. Ciprietti, Esquire for a free initial consultation.
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“[I]t is his commitment and his willingness to go the extra mile, to fight hard for you, that make Phil an outstanding attorney. He is the one you want on your side. At the end of the day I could not be happier with the representation Phil provided me.” -Elaine Lidel
*Disclaimer: Every case is unique and you should not take any action or make decisions in your case without speaking to a qualified car and truck accident lawyer in New Jersey. This website page does not provide legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Use of the contact form on this website or emailing Mr. Ciprietti does not create any attorney-client relationship. In addition, confidential information should not be sent through the contact form.